Mark Blaug: Rebel with Many Causes
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Mark Blaug: Rebel with Many Causes

Edited by Marcel Boumans and Matthias Klaes

This collection of eminent contributions discusses the ideas and works of Mark Blaug, who has made important and often pioneering contributions to economic history, economic methodology, the economics of education, development economics, cultural economics, economic theory and the history of economic thought. Besides these assessments of Blaug’s influence and impact in these fields, this volume also contains a selection of personal portraits which depict him as a colleague, a friend and an opponent. Blaug was also a voracious reader and prolific writer, which is clearly evidenced by the comprehensive bibliography.
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Chapter 12: Mark Blaug on the historiography of economics

John B. Davis


In the face of ideas, many economists are simply philistines, like troglodytes listening to a Beethoven quartet and asking why the four players seem to be unable to bow in unison. (Blaug 1994, p._18) Mark Blaug was a highly accomplished and influential historian of economic thought and economic methodologist who re-thought his views about the historiography of economics late in his career in connection with his increased concern over the declining place of the history of economic thought in the economics profession in the 1990s (Blaug 2001). Indeed he was provoked to reflect again upon the historiography of economics by the stated and implicit views on the subject held by many non-historian economists, which had emerged as their grounds for justifying the expulsion and near exclusion of the history of economics from the doctoral curriculum in most American universities by the end of the decade. Though many non-historians supported or acquiesced in this development for reasons often unrelated to their views about the history of economics, such as their desire to increase the time students devoted to training in mathematics and econometrics, their willingness to sacrifice the history of economic thought effectively led them into arguing that the field had no significant value for economics as a science.

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